Forget Banksy for a second and let’s focus our attention on the women taking on the male dominate world of street art. Here are 5 female street artists making headlines and giving new meaning to street art.
American artist Caledonia Curry, aka Swoon, known for her wheat pasting, is also an activist and humanitarian. Her projects/work include: Konbit Shelter, which helps to rebuild communities in Haiti and the Braddock Tiles project that enables local employment and arts training in North Braddock, Pennsylvania.
Shamsia Hassani, who is the first female Afghani graffiti/street artist, is also a associate professor of sculpture at Kabul University. Her art depicts women as “strong, independent figures.” The figures can be seen with musical instruments, inside of which they either play or carry, and which act as a vehicles for self-expression.
Nina Wright, aka Girl Mobb, who hails from Oakland, California, creates work that expands on the theme of “urban girly grotesque,” where her figures display their hairy legs as they lounge. She has been doing graffiti since she was a teenager in her rural hometown in Ohio. When she moved to Oakland, although she found community through street art, she also found herself as the only female in her crew, This lead her to create a graffiti camp for girls to hopefully shift the gender imbalance in street art. Her graffiti camp proved such a success when she launched it 2017 she has since been asked to bring the camp to other cities around the country.
Vexta is an artist from Australia whose theme gravitates towards feminine forms that are painted with bright colors. Her thoughts on inequality in the street art world: “Often you’re [sic] doing a project there’ll be the inclusion of one girl. Or people go to the other extreme and make it all girls. There’s no middle ground, which to me highlights the inequality.”
As you can see, many of these artists focus on inequality in the art field and society. These artists want to be considered on the basis of their works alone, and not their gender, for this to happen there needs to be a change.
Other notable mentions:
Ryzik, Melena. (2014, Aug 6) Life Wonderment: Swoon Blurs the Line Between Art and Activism. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/10/arts/design/swoon-blurs-The-line-between-art-and-activism.html
Burke, Sarah. (2017, Aug 14) Dismantling the Street Art Boys Club at an All Girls Graffiti Camp. Retrieved from https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/wjj5yq/dismantling-street-art-patriarchy-graffiti-camp-girls
Henry, Roland. (2015, Jan 7) Meet the woman redefining street art. Retrieved from https://amp.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2015/jan/07/street-artwomen-elle-swoon-vexta
Graham Harrison, Emma (2012, Feb 24) Art in the Streets of Kabul. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/feb/24/graffiti-street-art-kabul